tv U.S. Senate U.S. Senate CSPAN February 13, 2020 9:29am-1:29pm EST
there are many, many reasons to vote in favor of senate joint resolution 68. i call on my colleagues to send a clear, unmistakable message to this administration. you do not have congressional authorization. you do not have the support of the american people. you do not have permission from this congress under the constitution to wage war or begin it against iran. thank you, mr. president, i yield the floor. >> the u.s. senate about to gavel in to start the day. lawmakers are expected to continue work on an iran war powers resolution which seeks to bar any u.s. military action against iran without prior congressional approval. final votes on this measure are
eternal god, a light to a dark name. lord, continue to guide our senators. use them to bring a little more light and truth to our nation. help them to remember that your timing is not their timing but your providence will prevail. may they embrace the demands of a life of integrity, a life that refuses to give into fear, hypocrisy and hatred. lord, you are our strength and
shield and we trust you to guide our steps. we pray in your strong name. amen. the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington d.c, february 13, 2020. to the senate, under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3 of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable lamar alexander, a senator from the state of tennessee, to perform the duties of the chair.
signed chuck grassley, president pro tempore. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will resume consideration of s.j. res. 68, which the clerk will report. the clerk: s.j. res. 68, a joint resolution directing the removal of the united states armed forces from hostilities against the islamic republic of iran that have not been authorized by congress.
mr. mcconnell: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senate majority leader. mr. mcconnell: earlier this week i offered thanks to a long list of senate officers and staff who helped this body fulfill our unique constitutional responsibilities in the recent weeks, but we're soon saying goodbye to one of those p distinguished servants of the united states senate. i'd like to begin this morning by sharing my gratitude and the whole senate's gratitude for bob
swanner. bob first joined the staff of the ?afort -- senate recording studio more than twoing decades ago. back then he was already somewhat of an expert in designing and constructing television and radio studios. in fact, i understand that his record was so impressive he was offered the job on the spot. and as anyone knows who's worked with bob for even a few minutes, he spent every day since then demonstrating how lucky we were to have him on board. by his second year on the job, bob had already successfully spearheaded the transition of senate broadcast to high definition tv. and he didn't stop there. over the past two decades he guided the overhaul of the camera and audio systems in every senate hearing room. he masterminded the design of new senate recording studio
facilities in the congressional visitors center. and he's made sure that speeches here on the floor are delivered under only the best tv lighting. so let's face it, mr. president, this place is not, frankly, capturing a united states senator's good side, it's not always an easy assignment. but as bob knows better than anyone our audio visual capabilities in this system are not about glamour. they are about civics. they are about making sure the american people can look and listen to their government. oh, and i haven't even gotten to the small fact that presidential inaugurations take place here on the capitol grounds as well. not long after bob was promoted to general manager of the recording studio came the 2017 inauguration. one big professional challenge after another and one success
after another on behalf of the institution that bob has served. so, mr. president, it is no surprise that bob's colleagues at the recording studio are sorry to see him go. the senate is better for his dedicated efforts over these many years. but he will begin his well-deserved retirement with our sincere thanks for a job well done. now, on an entirely different matter, -- on an entirely different matter, it's been one week since the senate concluded the third presidential trial in american history. things moved quickly in washington, as always, and so it is natural that our focus is now shifting to the many policy subjects where we have more work to do for families all across our country. but when the senate acts, we do not only address the particular issue before us, we create lasting precedent. this is especially true during something as grave and uncommon
as an impeachment trial. just as citizens, scholars, and senators ourselves studied the past presidents of 1868 -- past precedents of 1868 and 1999, so will future schors examine what happened over the past few months. before we atd adjourn -- adjourn for the upcoming work period and have the impeachment in the rearview mirror, i want to speak about it one more time. not about the particulars that have been so exhaustively discussed and debated, but the deeper questions. to record some final observations for the future. the senate did its job. we protected the long-term future of our republic. we kept the temporary fires of factionalism from burning through to the bedrock of our institutions. we acted as madison wished, as
an impediment against improper acts. the framers' firewall held the line. but in this case, mr. president, all is not well that ends well. we cannot forget the abuses that fueled this process. we cannot make light of the dangerous new precedents set by president trump's opponents in their zeal to impeach at all costs. we need to remember what happened. so we can avoid it ever happening again. as we know, the left-wing drive to impeach president trump predated, predated any phone call to ukraine, and in fact his inauguration. this isn't a republican talking point. it's what was reported by outlets like "politico" and "the washington post." house democrats barely tried to hide that they began with a
guilty verdict and were simply shopping for a suitable crime. so unfortunately, it was predictable that the house majority would use the serious process of impeachment as a platform to politically attack the president. it was less predictable that they would also attack our nation's core institutions themselves, but that's what happened. first, the house democrats chose to degrade their body's own precedence. the majority sprinted through a slapdash investigation to meet arbitrary political deadlines. they trivialized the role of the house judiciary committee, the body traditionally charged with conducting impeachment inquiries. they sidelined their own republican minority colleagues and the president's counsel to precedent-breaking degrees. all of this was very regrettable. but from a purely practical perspective, breaking the
house's own china was speaker pelosi's prerogative. what was truly outrageous is what came next -- a rolling attack on the other institutions outside the house. to begin with, the recklessly broad articles of impeachment were an attack not just on one president but on the office of the presidency itself. the first article criticized the alleged motivation behind a presidential action, but failed to frame their complaint as definable high crime or misdemeanor. this house set out into uncharted constitutional waters by passing the first-ever presidential impeachment that did not allege any violation of criminal statutes. clearly, they owed the senate and the country a clear, limiting principle, to explain why removal on these grounds would be different from the malleable and subjective
maladministration standard which the framers rejected as a grounds for impeachment. but they offered no such thing. and their second article sought to criminalize the normal and routine exercise of executive privileges that presidents of both parties have rightly invoked throughout our history. this was, in effect, criminalizing the separation of powers itself. so the house articles would have sharply diminished the presidency in our constitutional structure. to extract a pound of flesh from one particular president, house democrats were willing to attack the office itself. but it did not stop with the house and the presidency. next in the crosshairs came the senate. the very night the house passed the articles, the speaker began an unprecedented effort to reach outside her own chamber and dictate the contours of the senate trial to senators.
the bizarre stunt of withholding the articles achieved, of course, nothing, but the irony was enormous. the house had just spent weeks jealously guarding their, quote, sole power, end quote, of impeachment and criticizing other branches for perceived indifference. perceived interference. indeed, this reasoning was the entire basis for their second article of impeachment, but their first act out of the gate was to try to bust constitutional guardrails and meddle in the senate. when that stunt went nowhere and the trial began, house democrats brought their war on institutions over to this chamber. from the very first evening, it was clear the house managers would not even try to persuade a supermajority of senators but simply sought to degrade and smear the senate itself before the nation. senators were called treacherous
for not structuring our proceedings to the managers' liking. finally, when the trial neared its end and it became clear that bullying the senate would not substitute for persuading it, the campaign against institutions took aim at yet another independent branch. the supreme court. in particular, the chief justice of the united states. a far-left pressure group produced ads impugning him for presiding neutrally, neutrally, and not seizing control of the senate. one democratic senator running for president made the chief justice read a pointless question questioning his own legitimacy. so in summary, mr. president, the opponents of this president were willing to throw mud at the house, the presidency, the senate, and the supreme court, all for the sake of short-term partisan politics.
the irony would be rich if it were less sad. for years, this president's opponents have sought to cloak their rage in the high-minded traffic of institutionalism. the president's opponents express great concern for the norms and traditions of our government, but when it really counted, when the rubber met the road, that talk proved cheap. it was they who agreed to approve -- it was they who included political blood lust at the expense of our institutions. reckless, reckless insinuations that our 2016 election was not legitimate. further insinuations right here on the floor that if the american people reelect this president in 2020, the result will be presumptively illegitimate as well. bizarre statements from the speaker of the house that she
may simply deny reality and refuse to accept the senate's verdict as final. there has been much discussion about the foreign adversaries who seek to reduce the american people's faith in our democracy and cause chaos and division in our country. rightly so, but we must also demand that our own political leaders exercise some self-restraint and not do the work of our adversaries for them. the critics of our constitution often say that because our framers could not have imagined modern conditions, their work is outmoded. we hear that the first amendment or the second amendment or the separation of powers must be changed to suit the times. but the geniuses who founded this nation were actually very prescient. case in point -- the reckless
partisan crusade of recent weeks is something they predicted more than two centuries ago. hamilton predicted, quote, the demon of faction will at certain seasons extend his scepter, end quote, over the house of representatives. he predicted that partisan anger could produce, quote, an intemperate or designing majority in the house of representatives, end quote, capable of destroying the separation of powers if left unchecked. the framers predicted overheated house majorities might lash out at their peer institutions and display, quote, strong symptoms of impatience and disgust at the least sign of opposition from any other quarter, as if the exercise of rights by either the executive or judiciary were a breach of their privilege and an
outrage to their dignity. they knew the popular legislature might be, quote, disposed to exert an imperiast control over the other departments. they predicted all of this, mr. president. they predicted it all. so they did something about it. they set up a firewall. they built the senate. this body performed admirably these past weeks. we did precisely the job we were made for. we did precisely the job we were made for. but impeachment should never have come to the senate like this. the most serious -- this most serious constitutional tool should never have been used so
madam president. the presiding officer: the majority whip. mr. thune: madam president, is the senate in a quorum call? the presiding officer: yes, we are. mr. thune: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. thune: madam president, on july -- i should say on january 24, tens of thousands of pro-life americans filled the streets of washington, d.c., for the annual march for life. unfortunately i couldn't come down to the floor for -- to talk your about the march because the
senate was tied up with the impeachment trial although i did get to meet with great marchers from rapid city, north dakota. now that the floor is open again, i wanted to recognize this year's marchers, including those from my home state of south dakota and talk about why they march. madam president, every year hundreds of thousands of babies are killed by abortion. hundreds of thousands. and that's not some number the pro-life movement has cooked up. that's straight from the proabortion gutmocker institute formerly affiliated with planned parenthood, approximately 386,223 abortions were performed in 2018. 862,320. most of us can't even fathom what a number that big looks
like, but that's a lot of babies. because, of course, that's what we're talking about, babies. human beings. proponents of abortion try to deny the humanity of the unborn child. but science, ultra sounds and common sense all make it clear when we're talking about unborn children, we're talking about human beings with their own fingerprints and own d.n.a. and human beings, madam president, deserve to be protected, even when they are small and weak and you will necial. especially when -- vulnerable. especially when they are small, week, and vulnerable. madam president, if you stick around politics long enough, you will hear someone talk about the importance of being on the right side of history. it's a common trope, but it's no less true for that. the truth is we should think about being on the right side of history. when people look back at us, we
want to be remembered for standing up for what's right, not for going along with injustice. abortion repeats a tired pattern. one group of people or society decides that another group of people is less valuable the they advance plausible-sounding reasons why it's legitimate to deprive these people of their human rights. and for various reasons people in that society go along with it. it's a story that's been repeated too many times. and the judgment of history never looks kindly on these societies. madam president, the united states was founded -- founded to safeguard human rights. we haven't always lived up to that promise, but we never stopped trying, and it's time for america to start standing up for the rights of unborn humans. last week in his state of the union address, the president called for a ban on late-term abortions. in 2016, somewhere around 11,000
babies were aborted after the 11th month. as neonatal science advances, we have been able to save babies born at earlier stages of pregnancy. babies survived after being born at 25 weeks, at 24 weeks, at 23 weeks. and like ellie snyder who attended her mom at the state of the union with her mom, 21 weeks. in this country it's threel to kill -- it's legal to kill babies up to 40 weeks right up to the very last moment of pregnancy. madam president, that doesn't make sense. how can a child be born at 20 weeks and deserve care and a young child who is at that same
age regarded as less than human. the moment of birth does not magically confer humanity, and yet our law acts like it does. madam president, i'd like to think that a bill to ban late-term abortionings would -- abortions with be a no-brainer in congress. but at the very least we should all agree that we should not abort babies that could live outside their mothers. but abortion extremism has grown to such an extent in the democratic party, that the democratic party, including a president -- someone for running for president. last year after the democratic governor of virginia -- stated that a baby born alive in an abortion clinic is entitled to the same protection as a baby
born in a hospital is entitled to. 44 democrats, almost the entire democratic caucus here in the united states senate voted against that legislation. it was a grim day for human decency and for human rights. but, madam president, for all that we have, a long way to go to protect unborn babies in this country, i remain hopeful. and i'm never more hopeful than when i see tens of thousands of americans, so many of them young people, descend on our nation's capitol every year and march for life. which i may not win this battle today or tomorrow, but we are turning the tide. the arc of the universe is long, but i believe it does bend toward justice and in the end right will prevail. and i look forward to the day when every child born and unborn
the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. schumer: are we in a quorum? the presiding officer: we are. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: madam president, today the senate will vote on a bipartisan war powers resolution offered by senator kaine directing the president to terminate the use of armed forces for hostilities against the republic of iran, the islamic republic of iran. the constitution is clear, congress has the power to declare war. the president has no authority to enter the united states into another endless conflict in the middle east, but i fear that the president's erratic decision-making, his lack of strategy, his inability to control his impulses may bumble
us into a war nonetheless, even if he doesn't intend it. with this bipartisan resolution, the senate will assert its constitutional authority and send a clear bipartisan message that the president, this president or any president, cannot sidestep congress when it comes to matters of war and peace. it's important to do this now. the president's actions in the middle east have escalated the confrontation. before the state of the union, the president himself said that war with iran was closer than you thought, his words. now let me be clear, nobody in this chamber will shed a single tear over the death of iranian general soleimani, but that doesn't mean that we disregard the potential consequences of the strike or any comparable action. it is more than appropriate for congress to affirm that it has authority over any major long-term hostilities with iran as the constitution prescribes. and yet, still some on the
other side have claimed that this war powers resolution is nothing more than an attempt by democrats to embarrass president trump. the founding fathers would laugh at that assertion. one of the great powers they gave congress -- not the executive -- was the power to declare war. this resolution is partisan? well, then why are a good number of republicans supporting it? let me say this again, this resolution is going to pass with a bipartisan majority of senators in support, a rarity these days. if this is purely an attempt to embarrass the president, well, it's going to be a bipartisan one. we need to stop pretending as if both sides of the aisle aren't concerned about the president having too much leeway over the matters of war and peace. that's why this resolution is bipartisan, because both sides of the aisle agree that for too long congress has ceded our constitutional authority to the executive branch and we're taking an important step today to claim that authority back.
now today there will be amendments offered that would seek to do one thing and one thing only -- undermine what we're trying to achieve today and provide the president's lawyers with get-out-of-jail free cards. my colleague from arkansas has an amendment that would create an exception for operations against foreign terrorist organizations. it sounds reasonable at first, but any enterprising lawyer in the administration could use this amendment to justify the type of unilateral escalation of hostilities that this legislation would prohibit. my colleague from florida has an outcome that seeks a similar outcome. my friends on both sides who wish this resolution to pass should vote down these amendments. they cut against the core of legislation. and senator kaine told me that if this amendment passed, the cotton amendment, he'd be forced to vote against his own bill, so what good would that do for those of us who want to pass it anyway?
one final point, with respect to the situation in iran, we still don't have a clear picture from the administration about our strategy in the region. the only gesture of transparency that this administration has been able to muster was a classified all-members briefing conducted more than a week after the strike. 97 senators attended but only 15 members got to ask questions before the administration, led by secretary pompeo, practically sprinted out the door with a less than genuine commitment to return. our demands for a follow-up briefing have been ignored by the white house, secretary esper, secretary pompeo. those briefings should have occurred before the action. i learned about what we were doing in the news, and two hours later got a call from the administration. i fear that by keeping congress and the american people in the dark, president trump may be directing military operations in a manner that doesn't stand up to public scrutiny.
when you're forced to consult with congress and when congress has the power to declare war, quick and sloppy thinking evaporates because people have to at least examine the issues in some detail. the american public has some say. that's why senator kaine's war powers resolution is a matter of necessity. i commend senator kaine and his colleagues on the job he has done, including my colleague from illinois sitting right here, and urge mile colleagues to vote in -- urge my colleagues to vote in favor of it. now on department of justice, in the short week since the conclusion of the president's impeachment trial, the president has reminded us of all the reasons why congress must serve as a check on the executive. the president has dismissed members of his administration who testified in the house impeachment inquiry, including for no reason the twin brother of one of the witnesses. the administration has reportedly withdrawn the nomination of a senior pentagon official who merely advised her colleagues about the legal
implications of delaying assistance to ukraine. truth, when the president doesn't like the truth has no place in this administration, and people who speak truth to power are summarily dismissed. and on tuesday after career prosecutors made sentencing recommendations for roger stone who was found guilty of witness tampering and lying to congress, the president tweeted that his former colleague, confidante was being unfairly treated. soon afterwards it appears the attorney general or other political appointees at d.o.j. counter -- count mannedded and will provide a more lenient from the case. as a result some resigned from the justice department. a clear signal they believe the revised sentencing conflicted with their ethical obligations as prosecutors. of course it was not enough for the president to just lean on the justice department to make
it easy on his old pal. the president went on publicly to attack the judge who will decide mr. stone's fate, another example of the president's blatant contempt for the independence of the judiciary. in the past, chief justice roberts has spoken out in defense of the independence of the judicial branch. when the president during his campaign attacked judge kuriel, the chief justice released a statement saying we do not have obama judges, bush judges or clinton judges. we have an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right for those appearing before them. the independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for. that's what justice roberts said, chief justice roberts. well, president trump is once again attacking a federal judge, in this case judge amy berman jackson who is presiding
over the stone case. the nation now looks again to chief justice roberts to make clear to president trump that these attacks are unacceptable. speaking of the independence of the judiciary in broad and general terms is well and good. it's a good thing to do. but to not speak up now when in the middle of this brouhaha a judge is being attacked by the president before she makes a sentencing decision, that's when we really need the chief justice to speak up. so now would be the time for chief justice roberts to speak up. now would be the time for the chief justice to directly and specifically defend the independence of this federal judge. i hope he will see fit to do that and to do it today. i've also called on the inspector general of the justice department to investigate the roger stone matter. the judiciary committee in the
senate should do the same. but even without formal investigation, it is abundantly clear that something is rotten in the justice department. the president can corrupt our justice department in two major ways. pressuring it to investigate his opponents or using its power to reward his friends. impeachment of the president concerned the first abuse, the president wanted a foreign power to announce an investigation into one of his political opponents or funnel allegedly incriminating information to our justice department. the president explicitly mentioned the attorney general during his phone call with the ukranian president. more recently attorney general barr has publicly said that the justice department now set up a chattel to receive information from the president's personal attorney rudy giuliani about the ukraine scandal, what seems to be an attempt to accomplish the same goals the president was impeached over. the events surrounding mr. stone's more lenient
sentencing recommendations are an example of the second way presidents can corrupt the justice department, improperly rewarding the president's friends. in the wake of watergate congress passed laws so that this kind of abuse of the levers of power would not happen again. but here right now the president is using the hallowed justice department, the only cabinet agency named for an ideal justice as his personal law firm. he is using the justice department, named for an ideal justice, as his personal law firm. what a shame. what a defamation of what the constitution is all about. my senate colleagues who believe the president would be chastened by impeachment have been completely and disastrously wrong. the only lesson the president has learned is there is nothing he can do that senate republicans will not forgive or rationalize or simply ignore. the lesson the president has learned is that the courts are
unlikely to stop him, too, because the senate republican caucus has voted to confirm virtually every judge he has nominated, no matter how unqualified or ill-suited to the bench. we are starting at a crisis of the rule of law. the institutions designed to check executive power are crumbling before our very eyes. the crisis was the president's own making, but it was enabled and emboldened by every senate republican who has been too afraid to stand up to the president and say no. i yield the floor. mr. menendez: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from new jersey. mr. menendez: i ask consent to speak for up to three minutes in debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. menendez: thank you, madam president.
i rise in strong support of s.j. res. 68. senator kaine has done -- a distinguished member of the foreign relations committee has done an extraordinary job here in riveting our attention to a congressional responsibility that is paramount. it calls for the removal of u.s. troops from hostilities against iran that congress has not authorized. one of the most consequential decisions we make as members of congress, i have been called on on more than one occasion between the house and the senate, is whether or not to send our sons and daughters into battle. it is a decision that is about life and death and national security. the constitution delegated that power to only one institution of the entire federal government, the congress of the united states, to declare war because of the severity of the consequences of the decision. and it is up to the congress to
ensure that the executive branch, whoever sits there at any given time, utilizes all the tools of diplomacy it has to keep americans safe and that there is an effective check on executive power before we send our children off to war. so i stand in strong support of the resolution this body must assert its congressional privilege. now, of course the president has the right to take action to defend against imminent threats to the homeland and to america abroad. no one disputes that. senator kaine doesn't dispute that. none of us do. but the president does not have the authority to engage in any military action that he likes. we have been hearing from this administration that there is a red line. iran cannot have a nuclear weapon. i agree. but if at the end of the day that means that to enforce your
red line you're going to take america to war, then you must come to the congress of the united states and seek that authorization for war. what i hear from the administration, oh, no, we have article 2 powers. oh, no, the 2002 resolution that had nothing to do with iran, never envisioned, is so tortured to be able to suggest that that is an authorization is authorization for us. can we sit back and let -- and contemplate that responsibility? we cannot. we cannot. and so as someone who voted against the war in iraq and served in congress in the debate whether to authorize military action, i can assure you that it was not its intention, the 2002 resolution, and it doesn't comport with the history, the use, or the plain reading of the text. i'm grateful concerned by the administration's efforts to build a shaky legal foundation for the explicit purpose of
carrying out into ever-longer wars, including potentially against iran. before we vote to ultimately decide that, it should be the congress of the united states that should make that decision, on behalf of the american people, looking our sons and daughters in the eyes, and saying yes, this is worthy of the national security of the united states. i will vote to send my son and daughter if the cause is right, but if the cause is not right, i will not vote to send my son and daughter or anyone else's sons and daughters. that's where the debate should be had here. that's what senator kaine is trying to do through this resolution. i am concerned that some of the amendments being offered, it's simply to undermine that. and so i look forward to joining with senator kaine to passing the resolution as well as to opposing some of the amendments. with that, i yield back.
the presiding officer: there will now be two minutes of debate equally divided prior to a vote in relation to cruz amendment numbered 1301. the presiding officer: the senator from virginia. mr. kaine: madam president, i rise to speak in opposition to the cruz amendment. the cruz amendment is contrary to the purpose of the resolution before the body. the resolution before the body is to make sure that congress is involved in decisions about war. the cruz amendment is contrary to that purpose by praising the president for a military action taken not only without congressional approval but without notification of congress.
second, we're all glad general soleimani is dead. that's good for the world. but there are legitimate questions about the mission. particularly, should it have been taken out on iraqi soil over the objection of the iraqi government. that has now led the iraqi parliament to ask u.s. troops to withdraw from the region, which would empower iran and empower isis. and finally, the cruz amendment talks about president trump. this resolution is not about president trump. i had an original version of it that referenced activities of the administration, but my republican colleagues asked me to remove those provisions. i would ask for a vote for the amendment. the presiding officer: does anybody want to use time in favor of the amendment? a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from sekulow.
a senator: look, this is just a continuation of this animosity towards this president. mr. risch: this president did a great service to the united states of america, to the people of america, and to the world by dispatching general soleimani as he did. all of us listened to the intelligence. we had the secret and top secret briefings in that. in addition to that, those of us on the intelligence committee actually got information that was compartmented. they had very clear information, proof to a very high degree that he was imminently attacking, he was imminently planning to attack americans and american forces. this was the right thing to do. it rid the world of a person who really rose to the same level as osama bin laden and some of the other people that we have had who have done these awful things to americans.
we should congratulate this president. the presiding officer: all time is expired. mr. risch: just as we did with president obama. thank you. i would urge an affirmative vote. thank you, madam president. the presiding officer: the question is on the amendment. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
there will now be to minutes of debate equally divided prior to vote in relation to reed amendment 1322. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority whip. mr. thune: i would ask unanimous consent that the remaining votes in the series be ten minutes in length. i ask unanimous consent that the remaining votes in the series be ten minutes in length. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. reed: mr. president, i rise to offer my amendment noting that as a result of -- the presiding officer: the senate will be in order, please. mr. reed: thank you, mr. president. as a result of iran's recent ballistic missile strike against u.s. air bases in iraq, over 100 service members have sustained traumatic brain injuries or t.b.i.'s as a result of the proximity to the blast. it's vitally important that all personnel, military and civilian
who incur such injuries be given the care they deserve and their medical records be properly annotated to be sure they receive the care they're entitled to in the future. my amendment recognizes the seriousness of these injuries and honor those who will have to deal with these wounds possibly for the rest of their lives. i urge my colleagues to adopt this amendment and i would ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the yeas and nays are ordered. a senator: mr. president? mr. president and colleagues, i urge an affirmative vote on this. just as we congratulated the president on the last amendment, the commander in chief who made the very, very difficult decision to do what needed to be done to rein up the terrorists and people who are operating out of iran, we also need to recognize the people on the front lines. mr. risch: our brave young men and women who are in iraq pushing back on iran's attempt
a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from virginia. mr. kaine: mr. president, i rise in opposition to the amendment and will be making a motion to table it following senator cotton's presentation. the cotton amendment would establish a very dangerous precedent. i say that with all respect. it would basically allow military action against actors on the designated list of foreign terrorist organizations without a declaration of war against them. there are 69f. dmpleghts o.'s on the i.r.s. currently, including liberty, kurdistan workers party, irish republican army, communist party of the philippines. the f.d.o. list has never been a war authorization. it's created by the administration. it adds the names to it. this would suggest that by being on the f.d.o., the u.s. military could take action against you
even without congressional authorization. the list is so long and it can be added to by a president, this would basically destroy the underlying bill by allowing a president to add to the f.d.o. list, not come to congress and then take military action. i know the speaker's intention is to go with the irgc. if we need to defend ourselves under article 2 we can or declare war. thank you. mr. cotton: this is not about the i.r.a. itself resolution applies only to the government of iran. this is indeed only about the islamic revolutionary guard corps. let me tell you a story about the last 17 years in iraq. for 17 years the most deadly weapon our troops have faced is something called an explosive foreign penetrator that takes a slug of copper, super heats it into a ball of magma and hurdles into the air add 6,000 feet per second at our troops. i will spare you the graphic details of what a liquid ball of
copper does traveling at 6,000 feet per second to the human body but i will tell you that those were smuggled into iraq by, yes, the iranian islamic revolutionary guard corps. the vote here is simple. do you want to vote to stand with our troops, hundreds of whom have died at the hands of iran or do you want to vote to be a lawyer for iranian terrorists? kaine mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from virginia kaine i move -- kane kane i -- mr. kaine: i move to tawbl the amendment. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll.
if not, the yeas are 54, the nays are 46. the motion is agreed to. there will now be two minutes of debate equally divided prior to a vote in relation to risch amendment 1344. mr. risch: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from idaho. mr. risch: mr. president, i want to be very clear. i oppose this resolution as it is. it is misguided. it sends a tailored and confusing message to -- it sends a terrible and confusing message to iran and to our allies in the region. the pup of my amendment is to make clear -- the purpose of my amendment is to make clear to iran and our alloys thunder the constitution, the president of the united states has a constitutional responsibility to take actions to defend the united states -- mr. roberts: mr. president? the senate is not in order. i know there are a few senators here that -- the senate is not in order. the presiding officer: the senate will be in order. time will not start until the senate is in order.
mr. risch: thank you, mr. president. the president of the united states has a constitutional responsibility to take actions to defend the united states, it's territories, possessions, citizens, service members, and diplomats from attack. who could disagree with that? let's make this clear to iran and to our allies that that is the state of play, not with understand stag the fact, of course that is correct this resolution will not become law. it is going to get vetoed and the veto is going to be sustained. the clear language of this is very short -- the president has the constitutional responsibility to take actions to defend the united states, its territories, possessions, citizens, service members, and diplomats from attack. senators, make this clear -- vote yes 0en this amendment. -- vote yes on this amendment. mr. kaine: the senator from idaho opposes my resolution. i do not oppose his amendment. i believe it is a basic restatement of constitutional law and it is essentially the
the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to change their vote? seeing none, the ayes are 93, the nays are 7, and the amendment is agreed to. there will now be two minutes of debate equally divided prior to a vote in relation to the rubio amendment numbered 1320. mr. rubio: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. rubio: this amendment is a statement of fact. number one, it says we are not engaged in active hostility -- the presiding officer: order in the chamber, please. mr. rubio: number one, we are not engaged at this moment in hostilities with iran. we are not at war with iran. number two, the actions that were taken against soleimani were frankly lesser in scope, nature, and duration than what
the previous administration did and the way they behaved in their exercise of war powers, also a statement of fact. and the third thing is that the maximum pressure strategy against iran has reduced iran's resources that they can use to sponsor terrorism in proxy groups, also a statement of fact. whether you agree with maximum pressure or not, it is a fact that this year and last year, iran has billions of dollars less than they otherwise would have had it not been for the maximum pressure campaign. those three things are statements of fact, and i think if we're going to have a resolution like this, it should accurately describe the situation. that's why i urge your support and a negative vote against any effort. mr. kaine: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from virginia. mr. kaine: madam president, i will ask my colleagues to vote to table rubio amendment 1320. let me explain why. the gist of the amendment is basically to say we're not in hostilities with iran. if we read the newspaper, we now see that 100, 100 american
troops are suffering from concussions, closed head injuries that could potentially lead to other significant consequences because of the iranian attack on the al assad air base. the united states took a military strike that killed iran's key military leader and iraqi militia leader. the united states took a previous strike the week pf that killed 25 iranian collective militia members in five sites in iraq and syria. the war powers act has an definition of what armed conflict and hostilities are, and it is clear that congress was meant to be able to file this exact motion, either during armed conflict or even before armed conflict if it was imminent. i would argue that the 100 service members who were suffering from head injuries and the american contractor who was killed is definitely proof that there are hostilities. i will ask to table. i would now move that rubio amendment numbered 1320 be tabled, and i would ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be.
the presiding officer: on this vote the ayes are 54, the nays are 46, and the motion is agreed to. there will be a -- there will now be two minutes of debate equally divided prior to a vote in relation to the sullivan amendment 1319. order in the chamber, please. a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. mr. sullivan: madam president, no one wants war with iran, but while i respect senator kaine and my other colleagues supporting -- who are supporting the broader aumf, it has fatal flaws. first, it says the u.s. should cease its hostilities against iran.
the u.s. is not conducting hostilities against iran but iran is conducting hostilities against us and our troops for decades if you just look at the long, bloody list with thousands of americans dead and wounded, khobar towers, soleimani, deadly i.u.d.'s and second this limits our ability to protect these very forces from future attacks which we know the iranians are planning. close to half the forces in iraq right now are alaska-based military forces. our friends and neighbors in alaska, i want to make sure they are protected. my amendment does that by making sure the president has clear authority to protect our troops. the presiding officer: the senator's time has expired. who gives time in opposition. the senator from utah.
mr. lee: i have great respect to our distinguished colleague from alaska. i stand in opposition to his amendment because if there's one thing that we don't need right now it's anything else that would give more authority to the military industrial complex to start and finish wars without authorization from congress. any time we introduce additional ambiguity into a field that is ripe with ambiguity, given the ambiguity surrounding the article 2, commander in chief power and article 1 power that congress has to declare war. this is open up the ambiguity. this resolution is bipartisan. it has as its object to clarify that for future offensive action we need congressional authorization. we've been lied to by the pentagon for years regarding a war that's gone on two decades. we don't want additional ambiguities, we don't want
change their vote? seeing none, the ayes are 51, the nays are 49. the motion is agreed to. who have -- mr. inhofe: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: madam president, the -- i think that president trump's decision to take out general soleimani was the bonus defense decision of his policy to date. the president defended american lives and showed iran that terrorism and, most importantly, spilling american blood is something that will come at a price. unlike something we by the
predecessor, we're in the best negotiating position with iran since 1979 and iran's escalation, which includes attacks on tankers, saudi arabian oil facilities and the killing of an american citizen. at least for now. yet some democrats would have you believe a vote for a war powers resolution, pretending as though the president is rushing to war. that's just not happening. but the facts are not there. there is no war with iran. an air strike is not a war. punishing iran for killing an american citizen is is not a war. nor has -- it just hasn't happened. it's been three weeks since the democrats first tried to vote on this resolution and during those three weeks, nothing has happened. let me just repeat that. nothing has happened. there have been no new iranian
attacks against us. and we've with not attacked them. how can anyone claim that we're in some caned of a war? moreover, nobody wants with with iran. the president has made it clear he doesn't want war with iran, and in fact the president's decision to eliminate soleimani has made war much less likely because it showed iran that its terrorism would come at a price. that wasn't the price before. so despite this success today, we're debating whether we want to tie the hands of our commander in chief or any commander in chief to respond when american lives are put at risk, as the constitution gives them the authority to do. well, i want to be sure all my colleagues are crystal clear on this exactly -- exactly this war powers resolution means, what it will actually d the resolution calls the president to terminate the use of american armed forces
for hostilities against iraq. but there are no hostilities against iran. there is no war with iran. the resolution calling for the termination of hostilities against california would be just about -- have the same effect. practicallily speaking, this vote will do nothing. it's nonsense, but we should be very concerned about the symbolic effect this vote will the have. this will send a very damaging message to iran. the iranians will interpret a vote in favor of this resolution as tying the president's hands and that would lead iran to believe once again that it can get by with anything. remember, that wasn't that long ago. they really believed that. now nobody wants it. congress doesn't wasn't it, the president doesn't want it and certainly not the american people. i don't know why we're debating a resolution that can make war more likely when we're trying to do just the opposite. but if the democrats insist on
tying the president's hands, then the least we can do is minute mice the damage. so -- minimize the damage. so while i urge colleagues to vote against to resolution, i also -- i want to comment briefly on the amendment offered by the ranking member of the senate armed services committee, my friend and the gentleman from rhode island. he is correct to highlight the traumatic brain injuries that a number of our troops suffered during the january 8 iranian strike on irk. we understand that. and, however, i would like to clarify that i believe we are not -- we're not -- we were not misled in this at all. they can only be confirmed through m.r.i. scans. the department of defense implemented its screening procedure properly and madessured that all troops in the vicinity of the strike were screened. i think we need to understand
that. yet all of this was done and it's as if that wasn't done at all. once those results were made available, the department of defense notified the public in a press release. it then briefed our committee, the committee i chair. i therefore want to commend the department of defense for taking all the right measures to protect our forces during the iranian strikes and for appropriating screening our forces for aftereffects. this is i didn't think it's extremely important that we vote this resolution down, even as its anticipated -- amended now, it will signal that there's no price for aggression. it will undermine deterrence. it will leave our troops, diplomats diplomats, and citizens vulnerable. nobody wants that. with that, i yield the floor.
a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator for virginia. mr. kaine: may i inquiry if we're in a quorum call. the presiding officer: we are not. kansas i rise to speak with respect -- mr. kaine: i rise to speak with respect to senate joint resolution 68, which will be the next business on the floor before us. first i want to thank my completion for this process, including the president. it has been a very collaborative process with a lot of dialogue, a lot of listening, a lot of changes in amendments and back and forth since early january. and my colleagues, however they voted on things that i hope they might support me on, were very, very willing to dialogue and ask hard questions, and i understood why people were where they were. so i just want to thank the body for t and i also note what a cool thing it is to actually have a bunch of amendment votes on the floor. i hope we might do more on other items.
this is an issue that is extremely important to this body, and it's el extremely important to me. and of the variety of issues -- i didn't serve in the military, why would it be important to me? having a child in the military and having a state so connected to the military, i just have been nearly obsessed with this issue since about 2002. never knew i'd have an opportunity to work on it as a united states senator, but when i came here in 2012, i started to look for colleagues on both sides of the aisle and both houses who would stand for the proposition that war is the most solemn responsibility we have and it cannot be outsourced to anyone. i was willing to stand up to a friend, a democratic president, and challenge him when he was undertaking military action without coming to congress. and i've done the same with president trump, but with no disrespect to the office, i want an article 2 president who will inhabit fully the article 2
powers of the office of commander in chief. and for that reason, i put the resolution afford and worked with you, mr. president, and others to try to make sure that the resolution was bipartisan. it's quite not only bipartisan but folks from different parts of the political spectrum and different parts of the country and new members and veteran members have come together to say, after many decades of abdicating responsibility -- under presidents of both parties and majorities of both parties in both houses -- it is time for congress to take this so very seriously. that's i'll be voting in favor of the resolution and encouraging others to do the same. the last thing i want to do is say this. i talked about these two young people briefly on the floor yesterday. but i just am struck by their stories. the last two men killed in combat in the united states in the 19-year-long war against terrorists sparked by america's
righteous outrage of the attack on 9/11 was javier gutierrez and -- they were both killed last week in afghanistan by an insider attack, somebody who was wearing a uniform, potentially a member of the afghan security forces or posing as one, the security forces we've invested billions and billions of dollars and training and equipment -- $45 billion this year alone -- someone wearing that uniform, aan ally of the united states turned a weapon on these two gentlemen and killed them. i read their buyios and i was just -- bios, and i was struck by them. they're 28 years old. so they really never knew in their life anything but war.
by the time they were nine years old, the nation was at war. 19 years later we're still in the amendment is war. that authorization has been used now all over the globe to engage in military activity virtually in so many countries, on so many continents. they never knew any but war. to say a word about each of them. sergeant gutierrez is the 28-year-old from san antonio. sergeant gutierrez's grandfather was mr. ortiz and liberated when the russians liberated that p.o.w. camp. sergeant gutierrez's dad was a marine during the vietnam era and sergeant gutierrez was born in jacksonville north carolina near the lejeune base. all he wanted to do was serve his country. he joined the junior rotc
program at his local high school because i want to be like my grandfather and i want to be like my dad. he served by all accounts in such a wonderful way. this was his third deployment, one in iraq and one in afghanistan previously. this was his third deployment, and he leaves behind a wife and four children ages two to seven. sergeant rodriguez was from los cruces. he leaves behind a wife, no children but a lot of devoted family. mr. president, when i read this in the news, i thought it was a misprint. this was sergeant rodriguez's 11th deployment to afghanistan. 28 years old, probably didn't come into the military until he was 18. but of he was special forces. those deployments tend to be more frequent and maybe not as long in duration. but think about it, ten times in afghanistan and then on the 11th deployment, on the 11th deployment he gave his
life. the fries is just kind of -- the sacrifice is kind of staggering for me to contemplate, staggering for me to contemplate. i will just conclude and say this. i know that everybody in this chamber, everybody in this chamber goes to v.a. hospitals to visit. and i have three v.a. hospitals in virginia. i was in one in hampton last friday. we want to see our care providers, talk to our veterans, talk about their stories of resilience, seal cutting-edge treatments and technologies. often they are inspiring visits but one thing you will always feel when you leave a v.a. hospital and i felt that way when i left friday afternoon, the enduring consequences of war. when i was visiting the mental unit, the women's clinic that deals with the increasing number of women's veterans, what you
grapple with is the enduring consequences of war. under the best of circumstances, there is still enduring consequences. and people's health and the caregivers and friends of those who serve. because those consequences are so momentous and so enduring, those of us in this body andhisd maybe especially those of us in this body who didn't wear the uniform and didn't serve, we have a special obligation to make sure that we deliberate and deliberate carefully before we send troops into harm's way. the president of the united states, this president and every president always needs the ability to defend the united states against imminent attack without asking for anybody's permission. i think the world knows we will do that. this body, though, is a body that needs to decide if we go on offense and engage in military action. guess what, the world knows we'll do that too because when we took that vote on the war authorization in 2001, 18 years
later we still have tens of thousands of troops deployed, we have people still losing their lives. we're spending $45 billion a year in afghanistan to preserve the gains we've won. no one can question america's resolve. but this resolution is about a level of deliberation to match the sacrifice that we expect. the sacrifice is momentous. and so our deliberation should be careful. and that's what this bill is designed to do. and that's why i'm so proud to have worked on it with my colleagues. and with that, plj, -- with that, mr. president, i yield the floor.
a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator for idaho. mr. risch: mr. president, i have three requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have the approval of both the majority and minority leaders. he. the presiding officer: duly noted. mr. risch: thank you. mr. president and fellow senators, we're about to vote on an important piece of legislation. it's a piece of legislation that will never become law, but nonetheless it deserves our attention and certainly deserves serious consideration. we know two things as we approach this. number one, under the constitution, it is absolutely crystal clear that only congress can declare war. number two, which is crystal clear, we know the president of the united states has the authority to defend the country. and finally, number three, and this is very important as it
relates to this, no one, no one wants war with iran. no one agrees that we should proceed to war with iran. that is simply not the situation here today. there are constitutional questions here we know that we have to wrestle with, and they are difficult ones. the -- it's important to note here, first of all, that the dispute that's been going on with iran for a long, long time has really nothing to do with the iranian people. we support the iranian people. they are -- they have a long history, a proud tradition, and they deserve substantially better than what they're getting in leadership today. this is an important debate we're going to have today about war powers and the use of military force. one of the things also that's
clear but that muddies the water, and that is that there is no clear line of delineation between actual war and the use of kinetic force. as i said, it's important to have this debate. i really believe it should not be held in this context. it should be a policy that we're debating that is usable in all contexts. i've sat through hours, dozens of hours of debate on war powers, the war powers of the president. it's an age-old debate that's gone on since george washington was president. it's a hard debate because these words were all written in the 18th century and things were a lot clearer then. things are much less clear today. these debates were long. there were many lawyers involved. indeed, no conclusion can be reached.
it's one of those areas i've come to the conclusion that the words that need to be written in order to clearly specify the place that the president occupies and the place that the congress occupies is a very, very difficult one. there are things on this earth -- and i really believe this may be one of them -- where we know it when we see it but we can't define it. we know war when we see it. we also know what is kinetic action in order to protect the people of the united states that's more isolated in the hands of the president during a defensive measure. we know that when we see it, but defining the distinction between the two of when one blurs into the other is very, very difficult. the president needs the authority that he has to defend the united states, and it is
clear that authority comes from three buckets. number one, it comes from the article 2 of the united states constitution. number two, it comes from the war powers act. and number three, it comes from the aumf that has been passed by this body for some time. and iran, understand that the president has that authority. ep has specific -- he has specific authority from all of those buckets, notwithstanding the arguments that have been made here by some members of this body, the president unquestionably has those powers. this power has been used very sparingly by this president. compared to the last administration, the numbers are really indeed striking. the drone action, the drone strikes that have been taken then and now during the obama administration, 540 of them over 8 years. in this particular administration they are very,
very few and far between and can only be described as a handful. this is a president who abhors the use of military force. i have had the opportunity to discuss it with him at length, and i've actually been in the room when he's been confront pped with these questions -- confronted with these questions and had to make the decisions. he is deeply moved by these kind of questions and understands how difficult they are. when he talks about how he has to write letters to the men and women who didn't come home, about having to make those phone calls, about having to go to dover to receive remains of our brave men and women who didn't make it home alive, he is deeply, deeply disturbed by these matters. and i can tell you, as i said, having been there when he's had to make these decisions, that these weigh heavily on him. so what are we doing here today? it certainly isn't to rein in
this president. he has not used power willy-nilly. very, very sparingly used in great contrast to the previous administration. what we're doing here today is we're trying to get our arms around the question of when is it appropriate for the president to use military force, and we all have our ideas on that. we have the words that the founding fathers left us. so we're going to debate it here today, and it's important. the unfortunate part about this is we're also sending a message to iran, and iran is listening. there is no question that they're listening to this debate. they're listening that the, what people are saying here on the floor of the senate. and one of the messages that will come out of this, the way this